Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Like most geeks out there, I've been following the online bitch fest that's come out of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I haven't seen the movie, and I don't plan to. (I saw the first and after watching it I decided that if movies called "Transformers" focuses on a human rather than the robots, what's the point?)

Anyway, lots of people don't like the movie. Lots of people who do like the movie seem to being assholes and using the age-old line, "Well, it's making a lot of money, so we must be right, it's good," to defend their position. (Less often used is the "That's just you're opinion" line, which, when reading a review of anything, is like a huge DUH.)

Because of so many people only reading the first paragraph, or looking at the number of stars, of the negative reviews, Jim Emmerson, of Scanners, wrote about the fallacy of the majority of reactions to what critics have been writing. He should know all about this stuff, he's editor-in-chief of RogerEbert.com, so he gets to see all the bullshit comments, as well as the few good ones. (Last year, he wrote that he didn't think The Dark Knight was great, only kind of okay. Here'sa link to all his posts on the subject, but you should start with Under Cover of The Dark Knight to see that sometimes real discussion can take place. I recommend it all, though.)

Which leads me to why I'm getting into this:

Over at The Moviefile Blog, in a post about things the writer enjoyed about the movie, some commenter named damage wrote: "The movie was awsom who cares if it jump around the world it not reality so just enjoy it if your a true fane of the transformers this movie was about the bots." The comment bugs me, not just because of the bad spelling and grammar.

Really, I want to know what a true fan of Transformers is? Seriously, what is it? Is it someone who watches or reads or plays with anything that has the word "Transformers" on it and automatically loves it? Would this damage person enjoy Kiss Players? And if he (I assume it's a he.) didn't, would that mean he isn't a "true" Transformers fan?

Is that the only way to be considered a "true" fan of anything? Just shut up and "enjoy"? So, those SF Giants fans who sit and bitch about the line-up, but watch and cheer at every game, aren't "true" fans? Can a "true" fan never criticize the thing they enjoy?

I'm a fan of The Transformers, but there's a lot of it that I don't like.

The (North) American shows are what I really enjoy. I grew up watching the original cartoon. Beast Wars was a giant step forward in plot an pacing for animated shows. And Animated is just pure fun while keeping characters pretty true to their beginnings.

The ones from Japan that I tried watching, just didn't click for me. Robots in Disguise's "humor" just rubbed me the wrong way and made it hard to watch the show. (Plus, a flying shark, really?) And Transformers: Pokémon really irked me, and that irked-ness spread into it's two successors.

Like I wrote before, I really didn't care for the murky movie that came out in 2007 and, given the opportunity/motivation, can say exactly why I didn't want to see the new one in the theater. If I were to see it, I promise I'd be one of the complainers, too.

I don't collect the toys. I only occasionally buy the comics, but that's very rare. I don't keep up with any of the news and gossip surrounding the franchise. I can only name a few actors and who they played in the original and have no clue about who plays whom in later shows.

Does that make me less of fan of Transformers that this damage guy?

I still drool over the box set that's coming out. (The GI Joe one, too.) I assume he does, too.

So, why aren't I a "true" fan because I didn't enjoy the first movie and don't think I'd enjoy the second movie?

Maybe it's just because I won't accept something as good just because it tickles my nostalgia.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Are you sure you don't want a large soda?

This e-mail just in:
Subject: Governor Schwarzenegger directs Agencies to prepare for additional furlough days
Late this afternoon the governor announced that he will sign an executive order increasing the number of furlough days to three per month if the legislature does not have budget agreement in place by June 30. This action is being taken to grapple with our $24 billion budget deficit and our inability to issue Revenue Anticipation Warrants. These warrants would normally be issued to keep the state running while there is no budget.

I realize that everyone has been affected by the two furlough days per month that began in February and that this has created financial burdens. Your continued cooperation and professionalism through these difficult times are very much appreciated.

Good: I'll be getting a real paycheck in July.
Bad: Less money on the pay check.
Good: 3 days off each month, if I want to use 'em now.
Bad: Don't do anything on weekends already.
Good: I'll be able to supplement with unemployment insurance.
Bad: I'll be on unemployment insurance.

This coupled with the recent bullshit that I've been dealing with, I really want to quit and move in with my parents and then curl up in a ball and die.

Zombie Haiku!

Topless Robot is holding a contest to write the best zombie haiku!

These are mine, so far:
Wandering, aimless,
Trying to stop the hunger
Drops of water tear

They promised Heaven
Or they promised me the void
Nothing about this

We huddle for warmth
And pray the snow stops monsters
Creeping in the night

Day and night they come
An endless river of dead
We can't take them all

Brains get tiresome
Liver is the money meat
'Specially off drunks

Never thought I'd hate
Eating meat, but the Reynolds
Are very gamy

Well, those are the "serious" ones, at least. (Also, that last one is supposed to be from the point of view of a survivor.)

I did get the very first comment and used it to make a joke:
brains brains brains brains brains
brains brains brains brains brains brains brains
brains brains brains brains brains

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hedgehog Launch 2!

Launch your Hedgehog to the moon and beyond (pictured above) through the Earth to avoid suspicion, or something like that.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Header Line!

Foreshortening, With the Flavor of Mint!

And what kind of soda did you want?

From the Sac Bee:
A legislative budget committee on Wednesday rejected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to cut state employees' paychecks by an additional 5 percent, as part of the ongoing effort to balance a badly out-of-whack state budget.

The committee also voted to increase the state's tax on cigarettes from 87 cents a pack to $2.37, and impose a new tax on oil produced in California.

The governor has made it clear he will veto the tax proposals – and any others included as part of a budget-balancing package.

... "We are hoping that the state will look at other options for cost savings, in part because our members have already experienced (a) pay cut through the furloughs."

Zamora's reference was to the two-days-a-month unpaid leaves the governor imposed on state workers earlier this year. The unpaid days are equivalent to a 9.3 percent pay cut.


[Schwarzenegger said,] "It's outrageous that the Legislature would ask Californians to pay higher taxes but refuse to cut the pay of state workers by 5 percent," the governor said in a statement released by his office. "This is exactly why so many Californians have lost faith in Sacramento's ability to solve problems."
Funny, I thought Californians have lost faith in our state's government because it's never been able to responsibly spend money or come to a budget deal on time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Do you want butter on your popcorn?

From the Sac Bee:
[W]ithout a budget patch in place by the end of this month, state finance officials say there's a chance state government might have to do what it hasn't done in 17 years: issue IOUs instead of paying its bills.


Until a budget is in place, the state can't borrow money.

Instead, the controller's office is forced to delay payments to various creditors. The decisions on who gets paid and who doesn't are determined in part by the state constitution (schools and bondholders get paid first); in part by federal law (state employees can't be paid in IOUs), and in part by any court edict that has ordered the state to pay someone.

Everyone else – companies that do business with the state, students who get state aid, local governments, taxpayers awaiting refunds – has to wait.


[T]he major banks and Wall Street investors that California usually borrows from have been so battered by the worldwide recession that just having a budget in place isn't good enough for them to lend the state money: they want it balanced, too.


State Controller John Chiang has forecast that absent a budget deal that allows borrowing, the state will be in the red by July 28.


The last time the state issued registered warrants – and the only time since the Great Depression – was 1992, when the state handed out 1.6 million warrants worth a total of $3.8 billion over a two-month period.

State financial officers say that issuing registered warrants would make it even harder to borrow from commercial markets and private investors – and nearly impossible without a balanced budget in place.

I'm just a little mad.

Last week, over at What's Distracting Us, Heels wrote this:

The GeekDad column from Wired gives us the Top 10 Ways to Provoke a Geek Argument. I encourage you to add your own in the comments.
And so I keep adding comments.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hours, Money, Holidays, and Possibilities

For eight out of the last nine work-day's I've been coming in at 7AM to get some overtime and I discovered that I like coming in early. So, last week I submitted a request to my supervisor, SUSM, to see if I could change my schedule so I could come in at seven, take a half-hour lunch, and leave at 3:30PM rather than five.

She was gone last week, so I figured, while filling out the form, that she wouldn't approve it before this week and the stupid rules say that we who get our schedule modified can only start it on a Monday. Fine, I thought, I'll ask to start it on the 15th.

Monday, late morning-ish, I get an e-mail from her titled "FYI":
I just wanted to let you know that I have your Request for Alternate/Modified Work Schedule. I will need to talk to PJ & get back to you on this. He is out all week, but I think he may be coming in for a while on Wednesday – but not certain about that. I’ll let you know.
I wrote back with a simple okay, even though I don't understand why she can't just approve or deny it on her own. The other guys and gals who are clerks here don't want to regularly come in at 7AM if they're not getting overtime, so we'll be fully staffed until 5PM. And I asked for an earlier lunch, when no one else has one, which guarantees, on days that I'm here, that no one will ever have to leave for a late lunch again unless they WANT to. And that's a great thing, especially since I'm the one who usually has to leave late for lunch because some of the assholes I work with don't know how to make it there and back again (not a fucking Hobbit's tale) in an hour.

Without really understanding her reasons, I wrote back an okay because I figured if they decided in the positive, I'd get to start on the 15th.

Around 8:30 this morning she e-mailed me: "[ticknart] – did [the PJ] come see you about this yesterday?" meaning my request for modified work. I wrote back a simile "No." because he didn't.

Funny, I thought, isn't she the one who should be speaking with him? I think I made my position pretty clear by submitting the form that, you know, says I want to come to work earlier, take a shorter lunch, and leave earlier. Why should there be any discussion with me about it? Is it necessary for the two of them to know my motivations behind this change?

At nine she sent a reply: "He will be returning on Monday. The effective date on your request is Monday, so we will need to amend this if he approves it."

I printed and signed another request asking for the first day of this thing to be on the 22nd, since it has to start on a Monday. Not that it really matters this month because I'm going to be coming in at 7AM at least four days a week, and leaving at 6PM, so I can get a full 8 hours of overtime each week while it lasts.

Most of me doesn't think this'll get approved, though.

Sometime after I finished my first year here I submitted one of these so I would work four ten hour days each week and was denied because he didn't want to have an exhausted staff. A week after that denial I tried for a 9/8/80 schedule, but I'd stay here until 6PM (because my supervisor at the time -- I despised her -- came in at 7AM and I wanted less time with her around) and he said no to that one because the he'd have to stay until six with me, which made me feel real trusted. After that one was crushed, I quit for a while. I asked again about a year later with the schedule I'm asking for now and was denied because we had just lost two clerks and I should try again when more were hired.

So, here I am, trying again. Hoping to get an earlier shift, but preparing to once again be disappointed.

Why am I asking for this schedule?

Well, the main reason is because I'd have an hour in the morning where I could wear headphones and dick around on the 'netstuff. Sure, if I needed to get caught up, I'd use that time to do actual work, but I've been siting here writing this for the last 30 minutes and I spent much time (like more than an hour) launching hedgehogs into space. My best time is three days.

Also, though, the governator wants to cut my pay by another 5%, which would drop my pay by something like 14.6% from where it was last year at this time and that would make my buying a car in November an even stupider move and one harder to pay for than it was then. AND if the budget doesn't get passed by the end of the month the state may drop pay to all it's employees to federal minimum wage, or $6.55 an hour. (That's about $1100 a month before taxes, and since taxes take away 1/3rd of my pay not that would leave me with about $733, and my rent is, oh, $750 a month no matter how much I get in my paycheck. I know this sort of stuff is scare tactics, but it's like that old cliché: "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.")

I figure that if I work until 3:30PM I'd be in a good position to get a second job, downtown here, in the evenings and on weekends. I could start at 4PM and work until 11PM, or whenever, to offset the probably loss in pay. Sure, I may not visit my family at Thanksgiving or Christmas so I can work, but at least I'd be getting by. (Besides I was already getting myself ready to miss Christmas because I may not be able to afford the new vehicle licensing fee increase. We'll see.) How well that'd work out, I don't know. Still, it'd be better than quitting, having no job, and moving in with my parents and hoping that I'd be able to find something up in Cowtown that's more than serving coffee or putting a prefabricated burger on a bun to people who just... well, I won't write anything overly nasty about them while I'm not working in that situation.

Now I sit an wait. I'm waiting for all of this bullshit to settle into place, but mostly I'm waiting to find out if my schedule will be changes so I can come in earlier, take a shorter lunch, and leave earlier each day I work here. And when the waiting for that is done, I'll wait for the next piece of shit to settle so I can make a move to prepare for the shit that'll come after that.

Cricket Christ, there sure is a lot of waiting for shit to happen in life, isn't there?

Monday, June 08, 2009



My mother got tired of seeing Deborah Walley at the top of the page.